Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Traveller Tuesday: Modular Mass Transit

Still phoning it in here, as it is taking me longer than expected to recover from travel-lag and get things put away. But hey, at least this is a post.

The Modular Cutter, as players of Traveller know, is a common workhorse of the Imperium. Those who know me well know that I am especially enamored of the ungainly Lego-tech ship, as I can appreciate the efficiency and coolness factor of being able to swap out mission modules.

Image courtesy of Mirco "Riftroamer" Adam 

Plus, it kind of looks like a Sikorsky Flying Crane, and those are always cool.  I guess I just adore large gooney-bird looking craft.

Anyway, I told you all that so I could tell you this: there is a Swiss company that wants to make modular airliners.

In theory, high-capacity Clip-Air train cars, each a self-contained fuselage, can be plucked from the tracks and snapped onto a set of wings. Customers would only have to board and pass through security once — at their local train depot. Once the plane lands, the whole process happens in reverse, dropping off passengers along a train route close to their final destination.

What's more, Clip-Air is designed to fit up to three standard fuselages under a single set of wings, reducing the number of planes in the air. If only two of the three fuselages are booked by passengers, Clip-Air planes can snap on a cargo plane to keep efficiency up.

Perhaps it's just me, but I think this is amazingly cool. I hope to see something like it within my lifetime.


  1. I love the mod-cutter too, but I am terrified by the aerodynamic loads put on the aft section when there's no module streamlining it with the performance numbers given. That thin connector would just snap at our meager TL.

    Terrified and impressed with the obvious materials tech that the Imperium has had for centuries. The standard modular cutter is an ancient design.

  2. Man, that is really cool. I've seen that flying body design more times than I can count, but I've never seen anybody propose to use it with under-slung modular pods. Kinda reminded me of a modern version of the XC-120. Check it out: http://aviationintel.com/2011/10/03/it-could-have-been-the-xc-120-packplane/

  3. Wow, you're right! They sure do look similar. And so I must ask, how did I never hear of the Packplane until now?

  4. Well, I kinda fancy myself as an aviation enthusiast, and I never heard if it till just a little while ago. Just one of those gems hidden in plain sight, I guess.

  5. When I saw the title, I was thinking something more like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfXm2eJxXII


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